Each year, more than two million Americans visit the doctor due to heel pain. If you experience heel pain that keeps you from work or exercise, it’s important to get treated. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, specialize in diagnosing and treating all types of heel pain, including plantar fasciitis. To make an appointment at the office in Gainesville or Lake City, Florida, call the nearest office today.
What is heel pain?
Heel pain is any aching, general discomfort, or stiffness that affects the area at the back of your foot, directly below your heel. Often, it occurs due to general wear and tear, but it can also point to an underlying condition like a stress fracture or bone spur.
What are some common causes of heel pain?
North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists treats various causes of heel pain, including:
- Plantar fasciitis (an overuse injury)
- Sprains and strains
- Achilles tendonitis
- Osteochondrosis (a group of growth disorders)
You might also experience heel pain due to a type of arthritis, like osteoarthritis or post-traumatic arthritis.
When should I visit a podiatrist regarding heel pain?
Most cases of heel pain respond to at-home treatments, like ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medicine. Visit North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists if your pain is severe, your pain occurs suddenly, your heel is swollen, or you’re unable to stand up and walk around.
How is heel pain diagnosed?
To diagnose heel pain, your North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists provider reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including when they first started and their severity. Next, they carefully examine your heel, pressing on it gently to pinpoint areas of warmth, tenderness, or swelling.
Your provider has you do a series of easy stretches and range of motion exercises. They also observe your gait and posture. If your provider suspects an underlying condition, like a fracture, is the source of your pain, they also order diagnostic imaging, like X-rays or an MRI.
How is heel pain treated?
North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists uses conservative, noninvasive treatments to manage heel pain whenever possible. Your provider might recommend:
- Ice and elevation
- Physical therapy
- Wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly
- Custom orthotics
- Night splint
- Injection therapy
- Heel lifts or shoe inserts
If none of these treatments provide significant relief, your provider might recommend surgery. There are several minimally invasive procedures that can ease tension and relieve heel pain caused by underlying conditions, including plantar fasciitis.
Is there any way to prevent heel pain?
You can significantly reduce the risk of heel pain by wearing comfortable shoes that provide adequate support. Other steps that can keep your feet healthy and pain-free include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.
To explore the various treatment options for heel pain, make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the nearest office today.